SANTA BARBARA — Corey Dugan checked into The Hotel Big House back in July 2009, failing to make bail on multiple charges of kidnapping and rape pursuant to incidents occurring in Santa Maria, in northern Santa Barbara County.
But Mr. Dugan was apparently unsatisfied with the accommodations and room service being provided to him at Santa Barbara County Jail, and decided last week to check out of the establishment without going through the usual trial-by-jury process provided to such guests of county facilities.
According to statements to the press made by sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Drew Sugars, on the evening of May 19 Dugan was being transferred between cells in the company of a female custody deputy when he made known his wishes to exit the facility in an outburst of violence.
“He had a shank with him,” Sugars said, “and we’re still trying to figure out exactly what went down.” Current evidence indicates that Dugan, 19, physically assaulted the female deputy with a five-inch shiv and gained control over her, whereupon he used her keys to remove the handcuffs binding his hands to the front of his body. Immediately thereafter, he stole the officer’s uniform.
“Now he’s got the uniform on, trying to blend in,” Sugars explained. But another deputy approached to investigate and got embroiled in a fistfight. Other deputies quickly arrived on the scene and subdued the inmate, but not before Dugan inflicted numerous superficial injuries upon the custody staff.
The Santa Barbara County Jail facility, now on total inmate lockdown while the circumstances leading to the attempted escape are investigated, is reviewing current policies and procedures. Significant changes in the county’s inmate population have taken place over the past decade, with 11 percent of those in custody associated with homicide and attempted homicide charges.
“Then we have the influx of gang members, suspected rapists and other violent offenders,” Sugars added.
Indications are that Dugan won’t be checking out of his current accommodations anytime soon.